Alumni Life

Warm Words

Alumni gather to honor their own

Fraternity brothers Paul Nussbaum (BA ’67) and Steven Guttenberg (DDS ’69, BS ’65), reunited after almost 50 years, embraced onstage. Nussbaum (right), chair of the UB College of Arts and Sciences dean’s advisory council, started his comments by relating Guttenberg’s old nickname, “Brother Dart”—so called because of his tendency to be in constant motion. Photo: Dylan Buyske

By Jana Eisenberg

Each year, the UB Alumni Association accomplishes the difficult task of selecting a handful of our many accomplished grads to recognize at the annual UBAA Achievement Awards. At this year’s ceremony and reception, held in March at the Center for the Arts, many award recipients spoke of gratitude to UB and Buffalo—especially, as several mentioned, for the gift of meeting their spouses.


“I know how a rock star must feel.”—Steven A. Guttenberg (DDS ’69, BS ’65), founder and president of the Washington Institute for Mouth, Face and Jaw Surgery, reflecting on receiving the Samuel P. Capen Award—UB’s most prestigious alumni honor—for making the largest bequest to date to the university’s dental school. (Apparently, bow ties are his signature look; his wife and partner-in-giving, Diana Winters Guttenberg, attested that he has “at least 1,000 of them.”)

“Good studying weather.”—Alejandro Rivera Becerra (PhD ’01, ME ’98, MS ’93), the International Distinguished Alumni award recipient and Mexico’s chief negotiator to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, on one reason he enjoyed Buffalo. See the full interview with Becerra here.

“We come here as blank slates, and the university and community really come together to create the next generation.”  —Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle (BS ’81), deputy chief of the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Medicine, Education and Training; commander of the Navy Medicine Education and Training Command; and director of the Navy Nurse Corps.


  • Alfred Caffiero, legendary WNY physical therapist and longtime UB professor
  • Dale Fish (PhD ’82), newly retired senior associate dean for academic and student affairs in the School of Public Health and Health Professions
  • Arthur Goshin (MD ’70, BS ’66), former president and CEO of Univera Healthcare, founder of HealthyWorld Foundation
  • Venkat Panchapakesan (MS ’90), head of engineering at YouTube
  • Mark Travers (PhD ’08, MS ’05), tobacco researcher and assistant professor, School of Public Health and Health Professions/Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council
  • Stephanie Mucha, age 97, received the Walter P. Cooke Award for her philanthropic contributions to UB. “It’s my joy to do so,” said the former Buffalo nurse. Together with her late husband, Mucha invested in companies that, as she says, “made something people could use.” One of those companies was Medtronic, a pioneer of the implantable pacemaker


  • Just as we were going to press, we were deeply saddened to learn that Venkat Panchapakesan (MS ’90), recipient of this year’s Clifford C. Furnas Memorial Award, lost his battle with cancer. Panchapakesan, 48, was a prominent vice president at Google and head of engineering for YouTube. He also served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the UB engineering school and was active with its alumni network in the Bay area. His award will be presented posthumously to his family.